The acquittal of the Zierenbergs on the charge of perjury in connection with their unsuccessful action against Mr. Labouchere has naturally occasioned some surprise in nonlegal circles. And yet the explanation is not so remote as might be imagined. In the first place, the issue in the perjury prosecution was much narrower than that in the libel action. In the latter, the whole conduct of the St. James's Home was impugned. In the former, the gravamen of the charge was Mrs. Zierenberg's statements, repeated impliedly by her husband, concerning their affairs in Germany and the arbitration in England in regard to the burning of their property. In the second place, a jury may in a civil case disbelieve evidence on which they would, in a criminal case, hesitate to convict for perjury. Again, in the criminal case of Reg. v. Zierenberg, Mrs. Zierenberg's evidence was not available against her husband. Lastly, the general feeling was that the Zierenbergs had already been sufficiently punished by the result of the civil action. It is, in our judgment, extremely doubtful whether the prosecution ought to have been undertaken.
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